I am really surprised that The Wedding Ringer wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, thought no one ever. But Josh Gad and Kevin Hart’s chemistry is indisputable and carries this solid comedy throughout. Gad crushes your sweet guy next door vibe and Hart is Vince Vaughn and Eddie Murphy rolled into one, but more likable.
Gad plays Doug, a successful lawyer who is engaged to Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). Unknown to Gretchen, Doug is a pathetic chap who has no one in line for his groomsmen, with the wedding only a few days away. The wedding planner senses Doug’s problem and refers him to Jimmy, (Kevin Hart) a savvy businessman who makes a living providing “best man services” for guys in a similar predicament to Doug’s. In all his experience, though, Jimmy has never seen someone who needs seven groomsmen. He only agrees to do the job for a steep price, which desperate Doug agrees to pay. And from there, we set off on a journey of general comic shtick, replete with the requisite genitalia jokes. What results is quite a bit of laughter and enough sensitivity to qualify this as a modern version of the old buddy movie, or what I call a man’s chick flick.
The buddy movie plot is usually just a vehicle for the interplay between the main characters. Duh. But what really causes this type of movie to rise or fall, for me at least, is how well the supporting characters fill up what room is left – the casts of The Wedding SINGER and Meet The Parents come to mind. In this regard, the supporting cast of The Wedding Ringer did not disappoint. I will admit that at first glance the “groomsmen” seemed ill suited to pull it off. But as they progressed from scene to scene, the motley crew began to perfectly compliment the stars while managing to make me care a little bit about them, too. Gretchen and her family did a nice job of conveying a gradually increasing sense of selfishness as the movie went on. Rising to the top of the bride’s side was Gretchen’s father, played to irascible perfection by Ken Howard.
Aside from the good bit of laughter I experienced, as the movie progressed I also appreciated the subtle revelations that Doug is not as pathetic as he seems to be and Jimmy is not as tough as the surface indicates. While certainly not a unique plot twist, it provided just enough heartfelt moments to separate The Wedding Ringer from the more crass dude comedies. Speaking of that, while it had its low-brow moments and plenty of adult language, the lack of nudity in the movie was surprising, and, frankly, welcomed. (I’m no prude, but sometimes it seems like film makers are afraid to NOT include gratuitous nudity – so kudos Garelick/Lavender – prosthetic weenie aside).
Not groundbreaking by any means, The Wedding Ringer still proves to be a solid, above average modern comedy. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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